The book I’m reading now, The Art of Possibility, is the kind of book that you want to savor each and every word. I’m still working my way through, and Chapter Four, entitled ‘Being a Contribution,’ stopped me in my tracks.
In the chapter, Ben Zander challenges us to redefine the mental construct of success. He says the question at the dinner table shouldn’t be, “What did you do today?” but rather, “How did you contribute?”
There are many ways to measure the inputs and outputs of our daily lives. But maybe it will serve us more to reframe and consider how we contributed each and every day.
Some simple examples that popped into my mind include:
I called my mom to see how she was feeling.
I was kind to the woman seated next to me on the airplane.
Instead of reacting, I chose to be supportive when something a friend said irritated me.
I wrote a thoughtful email response to a reader with a question.
Instead of brushing an issue under the rug, I chose instead to intimately share my thoughts and feelings with my partner and we were able to come to an understanding together.
Another way of looking at it is even less tactical and more energetic. Contributing is energetically lifting the energy of those around me.
How can I try to do this?
Enter a space with my vibration elevated. Choosing to bring my best self to the situation.
Or, I listened attentively as my friend shared a meaningful story with me.
I quietly sent thoughts of love and forgiveness to people I want to love and forgive.
I felt heartfelt joy while witnessing children pose next to the ‘Make Way for Ducklings’ statues at the Boston Public Garden.
When a friend shared a story about something incredible happening in her life, I allowed myself to feel that same excitement along with her.
How the “being a contribution” model can radically change your reality.
Zander says, “When you play the contribution game, it is never a single individual who is transformed. Transformation overrides the divisions of identity and possession that are the architecture of the measurement model, recasting the tight pattern of scarcity into a wide array of abundance.”
While contributing, you’re not just painting your unique brushstrokes onto the painting. The entire painting is made new.
By contributing, you’re lifted to a higher level of being, and everyday acts take on more meaning than previously thought.
Zander says, “Rewards of the contribution game are of a deep and enduring kind, though less predictable than the trio of money, fame, and power that accrue to the winner of the success game. You never know what they will be, or from whence they will come.”
So, how are you going to “be a contribution” today? Or this week?